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food allergies...thrifty seems impossible

643 Views 16 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  LEAW
We just found out my son can't have white flour, wheat flour, corn, gluten, soy, dairy, corn syrup, white vinegar, food dyes, citrus, get the idea!
So, I like to buy organic food anyway (I know, expensive!!!) b/c I feel it's worth it healthwise. But now we have to buy all this specialty stuff that seems even more expensive and difficult to make anything from scratch like I used to b/c I don't know anything about it. I'm breastfeeding him so it's mostly me who needs to eat this way, but the dr. reccomended my husband do so as well b/c chances are we have a lot of the same food sensitivities. Our grocery bill is skyrocketing out of control. I can't garden b/c we have to rent right now. Does anyone else have this "food lifestyle" that could offer me some tips. It's difficult to catch sales right now too b/c th nearest Healthfood store is 40 min away and ds (3 months) bawls in the carseat. I've been ordering online from peapod (which sometimes even saves money b/c I can monitor what I'm buying more) and now too and having it delivered. I hardly have time to keep the house tidy let alone whip up allergen free food with a 3 month old. Am I destined to spend $700 a month on feeding 2 people!!!??
: Help if you can....please!!!
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We just found out my son can't have white flour, wheat flour, corn, gluten, soy, dairy, corn syrup, white vinegar, food dyes, citrus, get the idea!
Start by making a list of safe foods and go from there.
But there are many cultures that don't eat those foods, sure its limiting but it might be helpful to post all the allergies and I am sure we all can think of things/foods you havent' and interesting combinations.

Allergies can also come and go, or get new ones.

1. Let dh eat what he wants for now, get ds retested at a year when he's going for solids, as in a highly allergic kid who is being bombarded now he might not be as sensitive to some of the fringe ones later.

2. See about more convience food types for yourself, grab and go.

3. how was ds tested? I am not an expert but I have heard the blood tests 9they take blood from ds and expose it to the allergens) is the most effective. You might want a second opinion? I think also you should know what parts he is allergic to, milk can be a milk protien allergy, lactose etc.

But I'd say give the new diet 2 months and see if ds health improves, then keep it up. but you are talking many foods especially junk foods, no pop, most breads.... and have him retested by your health care provider often to see if he outgrows any or gets new ones.

Is there any organic coop near you, we have a mail order one here forget the name. But I'd say for $ wise just you do it for now.
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Thanks for the reply. We had him tested by using the EAV system ( to explain more). It basically uses accupuncture points and measure stress and energy in the body. I really didn't want to do the blood test on him yet because this other method is non-invasive. A friend of mine did both on her dd and they matched up exactly. I already have an appt. to retest him in Dec. The dr. said that if I avoid these foods hopefully he will not get full-blown allergies to these foods and the sensititvities will fade. Seems worth it to me as I've known kids who can die if they even touch a speck of peanut butter! I would want to avoid this for my ds if possible. The foods he (and I as long as he's breastfeeding) needs to avoid for now are:
Food dyes
White Vinegar (Applecider is okay)
Deepfried foods
Cheeses: mozzarella, roquefort, cream, cowmilk, whey, soy milk, cream cheese, chedder, American, cottage cheese, yogurt from cowmilk (goat milk and cheese is okay)
Wheat and white flour
Whole Wheat
Corn Syrup
High Fructose (corn)
Malt (barley)

I guess I just need to be on a meat, eggs, veggies, fruit type diet. I really like breads, but the mixes and such are pretty expensive. This could get old for a year
Hopefully that's as long as it lasts and he loses the'll be interested to retest in Dec.
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My cousin's baby could only have chicken, rice and some veggies and fruits for the first 4 years of his life
He was allergic to her breast milk, to soy milk, to cow's milk- he was on some crazy super expensive perscription formula. Such a sick little guy. She found an MD who is a food allergy specialist. He treated her during her next pregnancy with diet and supplements and her littlest babe was okay and could nurse and everything
She joined a support group for other moms with kids with similar issues and said that really helped. Are you in an area that's big enough for a support group? I think she got a lot of recipes and stuff there. They also shopped at health food stores for him. He has also outgrown some of the allergies and the reactions are much less severe now.

There's a lot you can do with rice, so you might be surprised at how much you can do organic without going broke.

Good luck, this stuff really stinks.
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Do you have Trader Joes near you? I find they stock a lot of stuff we can eat much cheaper than other places. Rice bread, for example, at $2.50 not $3.60. And ds loves it.

I just ordered Pamela's bread mixes online through - lots of 6 packs waaay cheaper than Wholfoods. I got free shipping too.
I've tried bread from scratch but so far it's been a disaster. We love the Pamela's wheatfree - I think it would be OK for your dd, but check the ingredients. Your allergy list is similar to ours.

Some of the baked good mixes are good too and amazon has them cheaper than stores. PM me if you want me to chech boxes for you - I cant recall all the brands.

Its still pricey but you can find cheaper sources.

edited to add - I dont feed the other kids or dh the expensive stuff - it's too much $$s. Personally I'd give dh regular bread etc and worry about you and dd for now.
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Love the idea of strting with a list of the foods you can eat - then you can come up with a rotation menu for two weeks and then use that to vary. Some menu ideas are:
*meat, veggie(combo), and rice
*quiche using a rice flour crust
*salad with nuts (I don't see them on your list), goat cheese, and dried fruit with rice flour rolls on the side or hot buttered chapatis using rice flour
*fruit smoothies and french toast using rice bread & covered in jam and maple syrup
*asian rice noodles with shredded beef and veggies in a thai or korean style broth-top with slices of hard-boiled egg

I think it's much easier to come up with ideas from the "yes, I can" list rather than try to root out the "can't have that" stuff.

My son tested allergic to everything at age 7 and we just pretty much ignored most of it. Even the allergy specialist said once they start reacting to everything on the test, it's just their immune system freaking out with overload irritation due to the testing itself. We just cut out the main culprits - dairy, dust and dust mites, and animal dander (our dog was outside anyway and it was in Alaska so the animal kept pretty clean and not offensive in that environment). At about 10 though my son finally decided he'd had enough of avoiding milk; he loved it! So I told him it was his choice and to try to keep his servings to 2 a day so he didn't get too congested.
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We've struggled with ds's allergies too -- he's now four.

Seeing a homeopath has been helpful.

Also, radically changing your diet is very difficult, but do-able and you really do get used to it. For a while, all we ate was animal protein (i.e. meat, chicken, fish), fruit and veg, and a little rice here and there. I think in some ways it is easier to just do without some kinds of foods (liked baked goods) rather than finding substitutes. Good luck!
thanks everyone!!!!!
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Food dyes -that's pretty easy to avoid if you avoid processed foods (but hard if you like candy, funky juice, cakes...)

White Vinegar (Applecider is okay)
=well so there goes pickles too? relishes? ketchup?

Cornstarch, corn,
=also easy to avoid if you avoid processed foods...

Deepfried foods
=what it is about fried foods in the breastmilk?

1. Get some strong goat milk cheese for adding on top of your eggs, you don't need much but it can give good taste.

I don't see it as too restrictuve other than grains, sugar and choosy about cheeses (it will be healthier for you

curried chicken with nuts and shredded carrots (oprah's sandwich, but skip the bread) boxed salads will be very easy, make your own dressing! Boiled eggs are great convience foods, on a salad, or just as a snack, what about apples, bananas?

Relax its not as restricitve as some mamas out here!
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Okay, we are not wheat free, but I did have to go dairy free for a while, and then I added the goat cheese. Just last week I tried some goats milk, and even my DD (who is now 14 months old) was able to drink a bit of it. She is the one w/ the diary sensitivity. I'm not an expert, but we did switch to a mainly whole foods diet a while back, and here are some things that helped me.

Menu plan- find some foods you can eat and plan meals around that. Lunch and dinner both include a salad. Lunch has a meat, dinner is starch based (potatoes, rice). We eat veggies with lunch and dinner. Snacks really only need to be fruit. I can't always get organic, so I try for locally grown, but we eat alot of bananas,and while they are not organic, they are cheap and really easy!

Join a foods co-op- I started one in my area, I meet the truck in town and unload my order once per month. The nearest HF store is about an hour away, so not doable on a regular basis. I joined Ozark Co-Op, and I order one months worth of foods at a time. There is a minimum order, so you might have to ask a few people to order with you. Right now my co-op has me, my neighbor (allergic to processed sugar) and recenly another mom of an autistic child started ordering, too. I have one more mama who wants to join us, and then I'll probably limit the group to keep it from getting out of control to organize.

Don't think of it as restrictions. I hated being dairy free. I did leave dairy in the house for DH and DD#1 (milk and yogurt and cheese). I did get myself some goat cheese to make up for the lack of cheese in my salads. I also buy a few convenience snacks per month, but rely mostly on fruit for snacks and "dessert" We illiminated refined sugar (use maple syrup and honey) and hydrogenated oils (and anything we cannot identify) from our diets a year or so back. The switch was hard, but worth it! At first I had a hard time finding stuff *to* eat, but after a year, I have several good recipies.

Here are a few sample meals that we eat regularly:

Breakfast - always includes eggs, and hot cereal (you could do rice, right?) Boring, but we like it! Cut up an apple or banana, too. Smoothies are a good option for a change (use goat milk, fruit, a few ice cubes, and honey or maple syrup if it needs it)

Lunches at our house are probably the most expensive meal of the day. This is the only time of day we eat meat. A normal lunch is meat (usually grilled), salad, frozen veggie mix or raw veggies (no starches at this meal, usually). Water to drink

Snack in the afternoon, either a premade special something, or fruit (yougurt would be good if you can find or make goat yogurt)

Dinner- we have potatoes every night, cheap! They are not organic, but we do what we can organic, and hope that's enough. I do try to eat all of my other veggies and espcially berries organic. Soups usually one night a week. Beans is antoher good cheap dinner. Again, we have salad. Maybe youcould make rice bread or rolls?

Good Luck! Also check out the Nutrition forum for even MORE good recipies!
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It can be done... I fed the whole family (4 of us) on a similar diet with only 200$ Canadian a month for groceries! I will write more when I have a chance. I suggest shying away from the gluten free pre made packages and mixes. They cost a fourtune. It is much more frugal to buy a few different flours in larger amounts (and one good gluten free baking book!)
Our saving grace pan bread recipe....
1 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup soy flour (if you can use it)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup alt milk replacement (or milk for others that can have it!)
mix flours together. beat egg and add to milk. mix all together. Cook on low heat in a frying pan with a bit of oil. Let the first side cook for quite a while then it wont fall apart when you flip it.
This recipe is cheap and yummy. You can use it for sandwiches or as toast in the morning.
This recipe saves us from buying the premade gluten free breads that cost 7$ for a tiny loaf here.
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On the plus side, spices aren't on your list, so at least you can add a lot of flavor to your rice, meat, veggie, bean dishes.
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My diet has been much less restricted than yours, but one thing that helped a lot with price was having a basic daily menu. I ate a lot of the same things every day, which isn't too great for you, but once I had my "regular" menu down I could add/ exchange stuff for each meal and not feel overwhelmed.

For breakfast, I ate oatmeal cooked in apple juice with almonds for protein. You aren't eating oats, but you could try another grain (like millet?)

My lunches were usually peanut butter sandwiches, but that won't work for you without expensive bread. It looks like you can eat soy; what about vegetable stir fries with tofu? Or eggs?

For dinner, we ate legumes and grains. Find lots lots lots of beans/lentils/rice recipes!

Look in Indian and Chinese cookbooks; that could give you some great ideas.
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I don't have much experience with this kind of diet, but just wanted to add that one of our staples around here is fried rice, which should fit right within your limits (unless you can't have soy, but I didn't see it on your list). I make a huge batch for dinner and keep the rest in the fridge for lunches. I like to make mine with chicken, but you can use any meat, or none at all. It reheats very nicely. Here's what I do:

Cook up a giant amount of brown rice, put it aside. (I make 2 dry cups at a time.)

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until the onions are translucent and push them to the side of the pan.

Whip eggs (I use 3-4) with some soy sauce in a bowl and drizzle them through the hot pan to make scrambled eggs in small bits. Then add cubed chicken (can be raw or already cooked, great for using leftovers!), soy sauce and probably a little more oil and cook that all through.

Add the rice into the pan and add more soy sauce to taste (and, hm, probably more olive oil
). Mix it all together and then add frozen veggies as allowed (In this proportion, I add two 1-lb package of mixed veggies, you could use peas and carrots easily) and let cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to keep the rice from sticking to the pan, until the veggies are cooked through.

If you can't do soy sauce, someone might be able to suggest a substitute?

Can you do balsamic vinegar? My DH and DD also love tomato salad--just cut up tomatoes and onions and toss in a bowl with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and herbs (or even just olive oil, my mom eats it that way). During the summer there's always a bowl of that in our fridge. You could do cucumber salad the same way.

HTH some. I agree that it can be done, but it will require some dedication and learning on your part. It seems like you would have to learn how to take your diet back to the very basics in order to make life easier. Good luck!
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If your family is adventurous, study up on non wheat based cuisines. someone mentioned india, i was also thinking millet based african cuisines.
How about making lots of beans and rice? If you've got a crockpot, you can put dried beans and water in the pot in the morning, and have cooked beans at dinnertime (or cook them overnight and then do something more creative with them the next day.) Canned beans are more expensive (though still fairly inexpensive as foods go) and don't require as much advance meal planning.

I've seen rice flour in the Spanish food section of the supermarket- I'm sure that can be used to thicken sauces in place of wheat flour, and in other recipes with some adaptations.
Watch soy sauce - most of them have wheat.

"Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread" is a great great book!
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